Shaka Zulu (1986)

TV Mini-Series  |   |  Action, Biography, Drama
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Reviews: 19 user | 7 critic

A historical account on the life of the Zulu king Shaka.

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1989   1986  
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Series cast summary:
 Lt. Francis Farewell (10 episodes, 1986-1989)
 Dr. Henry Fynn (10 episodes, 1986-1989)
 Lord Charles Somerset (10 episodes, 1986-1989)
Fiona Fullerton ...
 Elizabeth Farewell (10 episodes, 1986-1989)
 Lord Bathurst (10 episodes, 1986-1989)
Henry Cele ...
 Shaka (10 episodes, 1986-1989)
Dudu Mkhize ...
 Nandi (10 episodes, 1986-1989)
 George IV (10 episodes, 1986-1989)
 Prof. Bramston (10 episodes, 1986-1989)
Kenneth Griffith ...
 Zacharias Abrahams (10 episodes, 1986-1989)


Framed around Queen Victoria's decision on England's political stance towards the Zulu Nation, this mini-series details King Shaka's rise and fall with mythic detail. Prophecy is mixed with recorded fact regarding Shaka's birth, exile, innovations in warfare, assumption of the throne, building of the Zulu Empire, first contact with Europe and the events that lead to his downfall. Written by Renee Ann Byrd <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Most Savage Warrior of All Time!


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

24 November 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Šaka Zulu  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$24,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (original)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This has been the most repeatedly screened mini-series ever shown on television in the United States. By 1992, over 350 million viewers had seen it. The series dislodged The Hunters (1962) and The Gods Must Be Crazy (1980) and its sequels as the prime shaper of American perceptions of "tribal" history in southern Africa. The series even achieved cult status. The UK actors who worked on the project were nearly blacklisted by the UN. See more »


Shaka: Never leave an enemy behind or it will rise again to fly at your throat.
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Referenced in Tosh.0: We Buy Golf (2014) See more »


(uncredited) (music box)
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User Reviews

Great innovative series
1 June 2002 | by (The Hague, The Netherlands) – See all my reviews

I think this is, unfortunately, a unique series, showing history at least partially from a Zulu perspective, unlike similar movies like Zulu and Zulu Dawn. These movies show history from the colonialists' side and therefore leave a lot of questions unanswered. What were the political and social dynamics of the creation and rise of the Zulu kingdom? What were social relations and even every day like? This series goes a little way in addressing these topics, only a little, but a lot more than any Western television series or movie before it, which is what makes it unique. It wouldn't be misplaced in any modern (high school) class room. Henry Cele is great as the Zulu king to be, the music is great although basically Western, and the story would put any soap opera to shame. Realism is tops, with all the major African players being South African and it being filmed in South Africa. Where it falls down or slows, is when it goes to the more familiar narrative of the colonials, although Edward Fox is good, as always, as is Robert Powell. The series was of course also very topical, because even though it dealt with a war and struggle 108 years earlier, it was also about a fight for freedom and independence that wasn't won until 13 years ago and that is still in the process of being fulfilled.


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